Thriving at work means bringing your whole self to your role

It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Canada Life story right now. We all have a part to play in creating an organisation where everyone can thrive, contribute and feel free to be themselves. As someone who has spent over 20 years connecting people with roles and organisations, I know first-hand how important it is to bring your whole self to your role. We’re more likely to reach our potential if we’re not holding any part of ourselves back. I’m a firm believer that bringing our whole self to work is critical – for our customers, our colleagues, and most importantly our personal success and wellbeing.

But what do I mean by ‘whole self’? There are so many aspects to our own identities that make up who we are. For example, if you’re female, male or just don’t identify that way. If you’re a sibling, a partner, single, or even if you’ve got a college qualification or university degree. The point is that we’re each multi-faceted and unique in our own way. Imagine having to hide away an aspect of your identity for fear of it affecting you at work.

I know from personal experience early on in my career that it can be really exhausting to constantly be on your guard, or nervous about whether others know or suspect something about you that you don’t feel comfortable or empowered to share.

Gavin Withers Head of Talent Acquisition in the People Experience team

That’s why it’s so important for Canada Life to be the place where everyone can bring their whole selves into work (after all, if we’re not using up our brain power worrying about an aspect of our identity, we have more time, energy and focus on contributing great things to our organisation). I’m committed to ensuring fair and equal recruitment practices that support everyone’s talent and whole self.  It is critical to what I do, and I’m proud to work for an organisation that embraces that ethos.

I’m really pleased to see our conversations around inclusivity have been building momentum steadily over the past 18 months. There’s so much great work being done to advance our ambitions in this space, and the engagement I personally receive across our organisation on Diversity and Inclusion continues to inspire me.

Gavin Withers Head of Talent Acquisition in the People Experience team

The month of June marks the 32nd annual Pride celebration. For those not entirely familiar with the concept of Pride, it’s about people coming together to show how far gay rights have come, even if in some places there's still some work to be done. Pride month is about teaching tolerance, education in pride history and continuing to move forward in equality.

Thriving at work means bringing your whole self to your role

Did you know that that still today, 62% of LGBT+ graduates go back into the closet when they start their first job? If you think that’s surprising, imagine my amazement when I learned that homosexuality was still classified as a disease by the World Health Organisation until 1990.

There’s a really interesting report about the LGBT+ climate in the workplace if you would like to understand more. You can access it here.

So, it’s important to mark how far we’ve come, in society and indeed at Canada Life. That’s why throughout the month of June, we’ll not only be celebrating PRIDE across our UK Division, but as part of a global Great-West Lifeco PRIDE campaign and commitment to stand with our LGBTQ+  (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) colleagues, customers, and stakeholders.   

We want to get people talking. Sometimes that can be hard when we’re worried about saying the ‘wrong thing’, and inadvertently offending someone. Everyone starts somewhere with this, and in my experience, people don’t get offended when there’s the effort made to engage in the discussion. Especially if you’re honestly and authentically coming from a place of positivity, support, open-mindedness and learning.  So whether you feel confident engaging with others on the topic of Pride, or you feel you need some practice, I would encourage you to join in on the conversation. Every interaction makes a difference…